Improving patient engagement has always been tricky for medical enterprise owners and office administrators. Difficulty in finding the right provider, not getting a convenient appointment slot, delays in appointment booking, paper-based patient registration, and high wait time at the doctor’s office – are the known pain points for patients in dealing with a doctor’s office. To help practices deliver client-focused healthcare and improve patient experience, MGMA, and Relatient released the 2022 Patient Engagement Report. The information below summarizes the findings and recommendations for improving patient experience at a medical practice.
Make Patient Scheduling Client Friendly
Patient scheduling is the most significant contributor to the overall patient experience ( refer graph above).
If you want to improve the patient experience with the appointment booking process at your medical or group practice, implement the following changes:
- Offer multiple channels for patients to book their appointments. Therefore, patients can call the front desk or communicate digitally through SMS/ text and online booking through a patient portal.
- Patients should be able to book an online appointment without remembering a password or username. For instance, the customer is can enter their registered mobile or phone number to access the patient portal, along with an online generated password. Easing the login process will especially be handy for your older patients.
- Confirm patient appointments within a few days, rather than a few weeks, of the patient contacting your office. (The longer patients have to wait for an appointment, the higher the chance of your clients finding an alternative provider.)
- Use a combination of SMS, email, and human/automated phone calls to establish two-way communications with clients. Once the appointment is booked, use multiple channels to send reminders to the client. Also, allow patients to reschedule or cancel appointments via digital channels instead of insisting they speak to your staff. As per the study, 66% of healthcare enterprises that use appointment reminder systems also allow patients to cancel or reschedule appointments using the reminder communication platform.
Using digital channels for scheduling and rescheduling allows patients to interact with your medical office outside of business hours. It also reduces the risk of patient no-shows, reduces patient handling costs, and makes it easier for providers to fill appointment slots.
Recommended reading – 4 Tips for Improving Patient Scheduling.
Customize Your Patient Communications
Another opportunity for improving patient experience is client communications. As per the study, 60 percent of healthcare organizations do not customize wellness reminders, marketing promotions, office alerts, and other client communications. This is where it becomes essential to (a) capture digital patient data so that you can create client segments and (b) customize communications to send ‘relatable’ messages to each client segment.
Undoubtedly, a seamless appointment booking experience and customized patient communications are essential facets in improving patient experience. Other aspects of your practice management, such as timely provider credentialing and efficient medical billing, significantly affect how patients view your medical practice. So if you need help with the last two aspects, let’s begin a productive dialogue.